Tag: fairy tales

Nine Lives for the Crazy Cat Ladies

Welcome to the culmination of the NINE LIVES of Fellowship of Fantasy’s newest release.

Grab your print or digital copy of PAWS, CLAWS AND MAGIC TALES today.

Here’s an annotated table of contents so you can see what you’re going to get. The italicized parentheticals are my mini-commentary on the stories because I’ve read them ALL!

The Witching Hour by Savannah Jezowski
As shadows encroach on the city of Lite, one cat stands between humanity and the hounds of darkness. Will true love save the day?            (A comedic not-actual romance that is a perfect kick-off to this collection.)

The Tail of Two Kitlings by Sharon Hughson
Two kitlings. One tail. A mother’s sacrifice and a brother’s betrayal. Who will survive the Siamese curse?

Black Knight by Laura L. Laura Croman Zimmerman
When a jingly bell goes missing, there’s only one supercat to solve this crime—the mysterious Black Knight. (Not just another Batman tale. I smirked. Perfect bedtime reading for your kiddos.)

Sulphur & Sunshine by Grace Bridges
How to Handle a Dragon, Feline Edition: on a volcanic shore, the accidental appearance of a local fire-guardian has unusual consequences for a street cat. (A different sort of story. The perspective threw me off at first, but in the end, I liked it.)

The Magic of Catnip by A. J. Aletha Bakke
An impulse purchase of catnip leads to unexpected shenanigans. (Prepare to laugh.)

The Secret Treasons of the World by J. L. Rowan
When Braelin stumbles upon an outlawed Guardian, she must choose between his safety and her own—and the cost may be more than she can bear. (A gripping story with the feel of YA epic fantasy.)

The Poor Miller and the Cat by Lelia Rose Foremann
When a poor miller rescues a cat, it promises to make him a wealthy man. But what is true wealth? (The requisite fable.)

Alex the Cat and Alex the Prince by Ace G. Pilkington
The prince’s parents are telling him he has to marry for money, and his cat says it could cost him his life.

Whisker Width by H. L. Burke
Get a cat they said. It’ll be fun, they said. No one mentioned the portals to a mysterious realm opening up in Kara’s bathroom. (I didn’t want this one to end because it felt like it was just beginning. That’s author-speak for too good to be so short.)

The Honorable Retrieval of Miss Sunbeam Honeydew by Pamela Sharp
When two princesses of the realm claim the same cat, how far will their loyal retainers go to see that each princess gets her way? (Loads of fun, and another great story for bedtime reading to your kids.)

The Witch’s Cat by Rachel Ann Michael Rachel Harris
Walk under ladders. October the 13th. A black cat. Perhaps the only way to bring two lovers together is through the worst luck. (Entertaining. Defied some stereotypes.)

The Cat-Dragon and the Unicorn by Janeen Ippolito
Ademis the cat-dragon only wants his freedom but must graciously help a scared unicorn girl who should be glad of his benevolent assistance. (If you don’t want a cat-dragon after reading this, you’re not as far along the crazy cat lady road as I am.)

Destined for Greatness by Jenelle Leanne Leanne Schmidt
Kendall knows he is destined for great things. The problem is, the Fates — if they even exist — don’t seem to agree. (Very tongue-in-cheek, but KITTENS!)

Sammy’s Secret by Karin De Havin
A ring is lost. A friendship is ruined. A cadre of cats is on the case!

Death Always Collects by Jeremy Rodden
Loki, a regular old Siamese cat, finds Death looming to take his human. Bargain as much as you want, but remember: Death always collects. (Not what I expected, but a regal portrayal of a cat’s loyalty.)

The Wild Hunt by Naomi P. Cohen
When an immigrant violinist’s music enchants a Cait Sidhe, she’s entangled in the secret world of the New York Fae. (Not your usual wild hunt, but a twist of some stereotypes written against a historical backdrop.)

Read one tale. Read them all. Leave your review on Goodreads and Amazon.

This 1/16th of the authorship thanks you.

Cattin’ Hook thanks me to put him down already!

THE CRIMSON CURSE’s Creator Speaks (And a Sneak Peek inside the story)

Today, I’m thrilled to have my friend and Pen Sister, Melissa Crispin as a guest.

We’re celebrating our co-authorship in Roane Publishing’s Novella Niblets line. Melissa’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast is the second story to be released in this new, digital-only collection.

MelissaJCrispin-AuthorPic
Author Melissa J. Crispin

Melissa: Hi Sharon, Before we get started, I just wanted to say thank you for having me on your blog today!

ME: Beauty and the Beast is my  all-time favorite Disney movie. What version of the story inspired The Crimson Curse?

Melissa: Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite Disney movie, too!

ME: *SQUEE* We’re practically twins. *collects herself*

Melissa: I CANNOT WAIT for the live action movie to be released in March of this year. I’ve been stalking all the trailers.

When I thought about the original story, I wondered what it would be like if the roles were reversed, and if the woman were the beast instead of the man. I worked my way backwards from that notion, considering how she could’ve ended up cursed, and what it would take for her to break free from it. There is still a strong emphasis on a woman’s physical beauty even in this day and age. As cheesy as it sounds, I really do believe true beauty comes from within and it doesn’t hurt to remind the world of that from time to time. If that makes me seem like a total sap, then so be it.

ME: Nope. The more technology advances, the more we become obsessed with visual images. And true love is more than skin deep, which is one of the reasons I LOVE  the story Beauty and the Beast.
I was going to ask what your favorite Disney movie was, but since you’ve already copied my answer *sticks out tongue* what is your second favorite Disney movie? Have you ever considered doing a retelling of it?

Melissa: My second favorite would be Cars. My son absolutely loved this movie when he was little and I watched it countless times. In fact, I could probably recite a bunch of the scenes verbatim. I love watching Lightning McQueen’s struggle to figure out what happiness means to him. Also, I love the slow realization that success has different definitions as well.

I think it would be very difficult to do a retelling, but I definitely have other stories that revolve around this theme.

Thanks for giving us a “glimpse behind the author curtain.”

Crimson Curse

And because I have an inside track with Melissa, she’s agreed to give us a sneak peek inside the lovely cover of The Crimson Curse.

You’ll only read this  segment of  The Crimson Curse right here (unless you purchase the novella, links below).

Here’s an exclusive excerpt from The Crimson Curse:

Calliope may not have been able to leave the estate, but at that exact point in time, with her heart feeling so full, she couldn’t think of anywhere else she’d rather be. “What are you making?” she asked.
“Cookies.” Yareena turned, flashing a toothy grin. Flour dusted the little girl’s nose and clothing. “Mrs. Widdleworth is teaching me how to bake.”
“I most certainly am, and this child is a natural.”
Calliope approached and gestured at their preparation area. “May I?”
Mrs. Widdleworth drew back. “But, you’re the lady of the house.”
“So? When has that ever mattered? Yareena is a guest, yet here she is. You’re having such a wonderful time. I’d like to help.” She wiggled between Yareena and Mrs. Widdleworth, giving them each a light hip bump to make room for herself. She reached for the bowl filled with the prepared dough.
“Don’t you know three’s a crowd?” Bastian’s deep, baritone voice came from the kitchen’s doorway.
Calliope turned. “Excuse me?”
“I just think you should let the girls enjoy themselves.” He held a straight face, but the corner of his mouth twitched.
She raised an eyebrow. “Is that so? And what about me? Am I not allowed to partake in any fun?”
He leaned against the doorjamb and crossed his arms. “I thought you might like to take a walk instead?” A sly grin pulled at his lips, suggesting a different kind of enjoyment.
Calliope’s cheeks flushed.
Mrs. Widdleworth’s jaw slackened at the same time she dropped her spoon, causing it to clang on the countertop. “It’s a beautiful day outside.” Her eyes pleaded with Calliope to go as if the woman feared she would turn him down.
“All right,” Calliope said, “but I’m not convinced your company will be as entertaining as theirs.”
“We’ll see about that.” Bastian’s eyes met hers, filled with wicked suggestion, causing a tingle to travel down her spine. He held his arm out for her and she took it, allowing him to lead her out of the kitchen, and through the front door.
After walking a fair distance from the house, Calliope’s teeth chattered. The harsh winter weather had faded, but not enough to be outdoors without a coat.
They stopped, and Bastian faced her. His mouth quirked as if he was holding back a laugh. “I’m guilty of poor planning. Should we go back indoors before we turn into icicles?” The deep rumble of his chuckle warmed her insides.
“That might be wise,” she said, even though she would be more than willing to endure the cold in exchange for his company.
“Perhaps, but I should warn you, I may not be so wise when it comes to you.” He stepped forward and circled his arms around her waist, pulling her body against his.
His lips met hers, their tongues swirling in a delicate dance. All thoughts of the weather dissipated. She welcomed the feel of his body and the wave of desire that followed. Her fingers traced the angle of his jaw and caressed the back of his neck.
After a long while, he drew back and framed her face with his hands, taking care not to disturb her golden mask.
Her hands dropped to his shoulders. “You’re shaking.”
He leaned in until their foreheads touched. “You have that effect on me.”

Buy your copy now:

Roane’s Store (you can find the link to your favorite retailer here)

Giveaway

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $25 Roane Publishing Gift Card, Bracelet with charm from Sweet Inspiration, Hot cocoa mixes and mug from The Crimson Curse

GIVEAWAY!

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: SCEPTER OF FIRE by Vicki L. Weavil

I’m pleased to offer you a peak at another book to be released by my publisher, Month9Books. In fact, this novel hits the market only a week or two before the anthology IN THE BEGINNING gives me my young adult fantasy debut.
Today Vicki L. Weavil and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for SCEPTER OF FIRE, a companion novel in the CROWN OF ICE Series! Which releases October 18, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an
eGalley!!

Here’s a message from the author.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” SCEPTER OF FIRE is a companion book
to CROWN OF ICE, my retelling of “The Snow Queen.” It takes place a few years later, in the midst of an invasion by a power-mad foreign emperor, and includes most of the characters from CROWN OF ICE.
 
However the protagonist in SCEPTER OF FIRE is someone new—17-year-old Varna Lund, an ugly duckling among swans, who’s certain her destiny lies in taking on the mantle of village healer after the death of her aged mentor. But when a young soldier enlists her aid to care for his injured friend, Varna and her sister, Gerda, are catapulted into the war that has engulfed their country.
Forced to flee enemy troops with her sister and the two soldiers, Varna must also evade her mentor, Sten Rask—revealed to be a
powerful mage seeking the enchanted mirror hidden by a former Snow Queen.
 
To protect the mirror, and their country, Varna, Gerda, and the soldiers join forces with a sorceress, an enchanted reindeer, a
brilliant scholar, and a young woman traveling with a wolf. But Varna faces a terrible temptation. Promised beauty and power by the devilishly handsome Rask, she must choose—achieve her own desires, or protect a society that has never embraced her.
The Cover:   I love how this cover matches the cover of CROWN OF ICE, and yet is different enough to set the books apart. Both feature
striking young women, but whereas CROWN is glazed with icy blue tones, SCEPTER is saturated with reds, golds and other fiery hues. If you look closely, you can even see flames reflected in the girl’s eyes—very appropriate for a book that deals with sorcerers who wield fire. Although the cover model is not an “ugly duckling,” she does accurately reflect the protagonist during one portion of the book, which I will not reveal at this point due to “spoilers”! 

 

Title: SCEPTEROF FIRE
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Pub. Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N | TBD |Goodreads
Sharp as pine needles, and twice as bitter, seventeen-year-old Varna Lund’s determined to become a healer. At least patients don’t care about her looks, unlike the young men who spurn her for eighteen-year-old Gerda or even  her younger sisters. An ugly duckling among swans,
Varna hopes to bury her passionate nature in useful work.
Her healing skills are put to the test when Varna encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who’s deserted the battlefield to carry his
injured friend, Anders Nygaard, to safety. Varna, enlisting the aid of Gerda, cares for Anders in secret.
But a brutal betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, where Varna discovers her old mentor is actually a powerful
wizard. Seeking the enchanted mirror hidden by a former Snow Queen, the wizard hopes to use  Gerda as a pawn in his plan to aid the invading emperor.
Other forces ally against the wizard, including an auburn-haired sorceress, an enchanted reindeer, a brilliant scholar, and a  young woman traveling with a wolf. Along with the soldiers and Gerda, they vow to prevent the  mirror from falling into enemy hands. But tempted with promises of beauty and power from her now devilishly handsome mentor, Varna must choose between her own desires and the good of
a society that’s never embraced her.
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”,
SCEPTER OF FIRE is a companion book to CROWN OF ICE.

 

 

Vicki L. Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University, and a Masters in Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After working as a librarian at the NY Public Library at Lincoln Center, and the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media) in NYC, she is currently the Director for Library Services at the University of North
Carolina School of the Arts.
Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats. A member of SCBWI, Vicki is represented by Fran Black at Literary Counsel, NY, NY.
Where you can find Vicki:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr

 

 
ONE winner will receive an eBook of CROWN OF ICE & an eGalley of SCEPTER OF FIRE (when available), International.

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Take a Trip to the Moon! Series Review: The Lunar Chronicles

Fairy tales are for children. Or not. I’m pretty sure I never imagined Hansel and Gretel the way they were portrayed in a recent film.

If you’ve read the Grimm brother’s tales, you know a dark side exists. Fingers and toes being hacked off. Blood and gore. Not happy bedtime story material.

Not that I’ve read a ton of them, but I haven’t been too impressed by the books based on these tried and true tales made famous (and sappy) by Disney. After all, isn’t an author supposed to think up their own story line?

Enter The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I put off reading them for a couple years even though my students rated them as engaging. “You would like this, Mrs. Hughson.” Sometimes those kids are right.

Cinder

Not the tried and true Cinderella story here. I never imagined Cinderella as a cyborg. I don’t think even the Brothers Grimm could have come up with that one.

Of course, that makes her less than human according to society. She’s even bought into the lie. She has no rights but to serve her wicked stepmother (not really even that- just a legal guardian).

There is a handsome prince. There is a ball. Even the promise of marriage hangs over the story. But not in any way similar to the original fairy tale. All of it fresh and new with a dash of fantasy and a boatload of science fiction.

Yes, there are aliens and spaceships. The series is named The Lunar Chronicles for a reason. And “don’t call it magic because it empowers them” gives you a hint about the mysticism involved.

I was happy I had checked out the first and second book. Last page read in Cinder led directly to opening the cover and reading the first page of Scarlet.

Scarlet

Once again, this isn’t the Little Red Riding Hood story your mother told you to scare you away from talking to strangers.

Unless the wolf was really a mutant alien. Maybe the grandmother in your tale was former military with a secret that’s about to threaten her life? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Scarlet wears her red hooded sweatshirt all the time. She hates that people think her grandmother’s crazy and is beyond irritated when the police decide she just ran off. Scarlet knows someone has kidnapped Grandma.

Enter the Wolf and an alliance that leads to much more than either Scarlet or the mutant alien could have imagined. Fight scenes, romance scenes, chase scenes and the revealing of a diabolic plot designed by the Lunars.

The story switches between what is happening with Cinder and Scarlet’s quest in a nearly seamless timeline. The reader knows they’ll meet up in the end. And they do, but that isn’t what anyone expects either.

I wanted the next installment but it was spring break and the librarian was on vacation. I had to wait before reading Cress.

Cress

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair.”

Or in this case, Crescent, Crescent, your satellite is going to fall out of the sky. And her long hair will wind her up tight with the Prince Charming sent to rescue her.

This girl stranded and nearly forgotten in a satellite seemed the most vulnerable of the three heroines. She’s a programming genius and has been spying for the Lunar Queen for seven long years. No outside contact with anyone but the cruel woman who locked her away in the first place.

As before, Meyer weaves the stories of the other characters in seamless timelines along with Cress’ discovery of Earth and love. For those who think Carswell Thorne is a crack up (I laugh almost every time he opens his mouth), you’ll be happy to see him as the object of Cress’ desire.

My favorite part: Cinder finally gets her kiss from her Prince (now King Kai). Things get rough for Scarlet. People we’ve come to know and love (or hate) die in this book. You can’t have a violent manhunt without someone paying the ultimate price.

I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment – Winter. We get to meet the little princess at the end of Cress. I think it’s going to be a Snow White story unlike any we’ve ever imagined.

Five stars across the board for this series. Find it. Read it. You won’t be sorry.

Any readers of this series checking out this post? What did you think of the books?